And so another week into Brexit World and still there is no semblance of a plan by our politicians. I can't write anymore than that or the ranting will start again. Instead, some thoughts on the future.
When I was an A level student, I wanted to join the European Civil Service. I did French 'A' Level and had a university place for European Studies. Unfortunately, despite doing all five French 'A' Level papers, the exam board claimed I was absent. My name was mixed up with someone who had been absent and there was no sign of my papers or marks. I lost my university place. Me being me, I refused to retake because I felt I should not have to and thus language degrees were out. Instead, I went to Sheffield a year late. To do History, Philosophy and Politics.
My life now is totally shaped by that moment of not receiving my French result. I am married to the man I met at Sheffield for a start. As for my 'career', well I never really found any professional path after the idea of the civil service. I went from job to job, moving on according to merit and experience and changing sector every few years. Until I ended up as a stay-at-home parent, which in general I have loved.
Whilst at Sheffield, we were very keen on Red Dwarf, a comedy set in space in the future. Many episodes revolve around ideas of parallel universes, alternate realities, unexpected time travel. For example, a parallel universe where the male leads' counterparts turned out to be female. All except the creature who had evolved from the starship's cat. His opposite, to his disgust, was a dog.
This week, I have been reading On Writing by Stephen King. He says his story starting points are most often from a 'what-if question'. I also read a very poignant article about Brexit - I'm afraid I can't recall the source - talking of the 'lost marriages, lost friendships' etc of the future thanks to withdrawal from Europe.
It seems to me that Brexit is like a massive time bend. We all have our own personal turning points, our 'what-ifs' throughout our lives. But Brexit is a huge shared experience of that. For the thousands who voted Leave without really understanding what the EU does for their lives (as discussed in my post last week), there isn't the sense of fear and loss which the Remain voters are feeling so immediately. Leavers think they have won. But their lives will turn. Funding withdrawn from thousands of projects, businesses closing, cheap travel opportunities gone, employment rights whittled away. And they will have to find a new bogeyman to blame because it won't be the EU.
It will take at least ten years after the Brexit for pro-Europe people to feel like they have control of their own destinies again. At least that long for an EU-less world to feel real and not like a weird parallel universe. Maybe one day, humans will access an alternate reality where Brexit was rejected and future generations of Brits will meet their counterparts, all still living as part of the EU. Let's just hope the reality chosen by Leave voters will measure up when our time traveller descendants are comparing notes.